Supporting Mental Health in Your Middle Schooler

Middle School is a time of enormous growth; students experience tremendous physical and emotional changes, while their need for social connection and recognition deepens. Over the course of the year, we’ve discussed our approach to social-emotional learning in Early Childhood and Elementary, now I would like to share a little about our approach during these crucial Middle School years. Our Middle School program focuses on increasing independence in students in a number of ways; our social emotional learning and wellness class, in particular, seeks to empower students to take ownership of their mental health and the decisions they make. 

Our Grade 6 students this year have discussed negative and positive peer pressure and how to make choices that align with their personal values. Grade 7 has learned about how anxiety impacts the brain, as well as some practical tools to calm it. Grade 8 has addressed depression and anxiety–particularly how these may intersect with social media usage–and nutritional habits that support mental health as well as harm it. 

Understanding and processing the physical changes their bodies are undergoing is extremely important as well, and Nurse Bailey and Counselor Meghan Keller work closely together to cover puberty and reproductive health in Grades 6 and 7.

You can help support your student in their mental health journey too. We are pleased to host Dr. Adam Pletter, Psy.D, a prominent local psychologist who specializes in adolescent mental health issues, tomorrow morning from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Dr. Pletter will be speaking primarily about children learning to navigate social media and the digital world, and how parents can partner with them in this work more successfully. Parents of students in Grades 4-8 are cordially invited to join us. If you are unable to attend, you can watch the livestream here; a recording will also be available next week. 

Providing our Dragons with the tools they need to protect and promote their own mental health is one way we help our students nurture kindness, build confidence, and become prepared for the challenges life invariably brings.

Danny Vogelman
Head of School